Urban Forestry and Natural Climate Solutions
Last year, the City of Boulder launched a natural climate solutions campaign called Cool Boulder. It’s a multidisciplinary approach that combines the efforts of multiple city departments, community organizations, and volunteers. Part of Brett’s work is helping other departments see themselves as climate actors. It’s not just about emission reductions anymore, and groups like the parks and open space departments have big roles to play.
The urban forest is one of the campaign’s three action areas. The city is making major investments to maintain the health of the existing tree canopy and plant thousands of additional trees, most of which will need to be located on private land. One of the city’s priorities is to plant trees that won’t be islands of nature, but instead include a supportive ecosystem around them.
Aligning urban forestry with city climate initiatives is a well established best practice, but we see extra encouragement in the rise of natural climate solutions. The NCS model has trees as a star of the climate action show, not just a supporting player. As NCS initiatives become more common they will be another funding lever for urban forestry professionals to pull on. For example, New Jersey just launched a $24 million NCS grant program this year, with establishing and maintaining trees as an eligible project.